Five GTP'ers are racing the second of two races in Ecuador this weekend. Fresh off the CAMTRI Pan American Champs in Puerto Lopez last weekend, Domi Jamnicky, Taylor Forbes, John Rasmussen, Jason Wilson and Matthew Wright will compete at the ITU Salinas World Cup on Sunday, over the sprint distance.
Read on for a deeper look at some of the things going on in the background:
The team has faced some challenges in their travels, including lost luggage, jellyfish stings, accommodation changes and navigating the 3-hour drive from Puerto Lopez to Salinas. These are fairly normal occurrences for ITU racers, and the athletes are well versed in how to deal with these situations.
Everyone is now in Salinas, recovering from the last race, and prepping for the weekend. They've learned that the bike course has been changed, and they'll be sure to ride the new route several times to study the course and prepare for race day.
Matthew and Jason are both members of "Team ITU", sometimes also known as the ITU Development Team (https://www.triathlon.org/development/athlete/teamitu). Team ITU supports a select group of athletes who come from countries with small triathlon federations. Athletes are provided with additional coaching, logistic, travel and accommodation support at specific events, with the goal of ultimately helping these athletes qualify for the 2020 Olympics. This is one example of the important role the international federation plays in growing the sport and ensuring that promising athletes from small federations can compete on the international stage.
Domi Ranked #1:
Domi is currently ranked 37th on the ITU Points List (https://www.triathlon.org/rankings/itu_points_list/female). The ITU Points List determines your ranking for entry into events, and also determines your race number at the event. As Domi has the highest ranking on the ITU Points List of any female athlete entered into the Salinas World Cup, she is ranked #1 for this race. Before the race starts, the athletes are allowed a swim warm-up, and then they are lined up in order of their start number - a process called 'marshalling'. The top 10 athletes are introduced individually by the race announcer, followed by the remainder of the field. Athletes choose their start position on the beach (or pontoon), in order of ranking. As the top ranked athlete in Salinas, Domi will have first choice of start position, which can be an advantage in some races, depending on the position of the swim buoys, ocean currents and other factors.
World Cup Racing
World Cups represent the 2nd most competitive tier of ITU racing. The World Triathlon Series is the top tier, with the deepest and more competitive fields, followed by World Cups, and then Continental Cups. World Cups have larger and more competitive fields than Continental Cups, award more ITU points than Continental Cups (500pts for 1st place vs. 300pts for 1st place), and offer more prize money. World Cups are also a great stepping stone to WTS racing, requiring a similar skill set against many of the same athletes who race WTS. Competing in the 8th World Cup of his career, John Rasmussen is coming off of a very strong 7th place finish at Puerto Lopez, and looks to put his strong swim to work early in the race. Salinas will be the 3rd career World Cup start for Taylor Forbes, who delivered a silver medal performance in Puerto Lopez, and he's looking to once again be in the hunt out of T2 this weekend.
Click the following link for ITU's race preview article, and tune in to www.triathlon.org for live timing on Sunday, by clicking "LIVE" on the right hand side of the header.